The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that was first sold in 1952. The Les Paul was designed by Ted McCarty in collaboration with popular guitarist Les Paul, whom Gibson enlisted to endorse the new model. It is one of the most well-known electric guitar types in the world, along with the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster.
The Gibson Les Paul was the result of a design collaboration between Gibson Guitar Corporation and the late jazz guitarist and electronics inventor Les Paul. In 1950, with the introduction of the Fender Telecaster to the musical market, electric guitars became a public craze. In reaction, Gibson Guitar president Ted McCarty brought guitarist Les Paul into the company as a consultant. Les Paul was a respected innovator who had been experimenting with guitar design for years to benefit his own music. In fact, he had hand-built a solid-body prototype called "The Log", a design widely considered the first solid-body Spanish guitar ever built, as opposed to the "Hawaiian", or lap-steel guitar. This guitar is known as "The Log" because the solid core is a pine block whose width and depth are a little more than the width of the fretboard. Although numerous other prototypes and limited-production solid-body models by other makers have since surfaced, it is known that in 1945–1946, Les Paul had approached Gibson with "The Log" prototype, but his solid body design was rejected.
The significance of Les Paul's contributions to his Gibson guitar design remains controversial. The book "50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul" limits Paul's contributions to two: advice on the trapeze tailpiece, and a preference for color (stating that Paul preferred gold as "it looks expensive", and a second choice of black because "it makes your fingers appear to move faster on the box", and "looks classy?like a tuxedo").
Thanks to the work and influence of Richards, Clapton, Bloomfield, Green, Taylor, Beck, and Page in the mid-1960s, demand for Les Paul guitars begun to increase. Responding to that influence and increased pressure from the public, Gibson re-introduced the single cutaway Les Paul in July 1968.